Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Two Tiny Pieces of Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow Costume.

My father has a small rock from space. He’s quite fascinated by it. It’s amazing to think of where it’s actually been and take delight in the fact that although none of us will probably ever go into space, we can still hold a little piece of it in our hands.

That’s exactly how I feel about this small piece of Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow costume...

Join me... after the jump!

When people first hear that you have a tiny piece of Scarlett Johansson’s costume, they automatically assume the worst. That some shady crew member with a pair of scissors has spirited away a scrap for black market profit. To the layman it sounds very underhanded, but the truth is far less salacious, bordering on “underwhelming”.

For many years now, spanning all manner of licenses (everything from Buffy, Scooby Doo, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings) trading card companies have been including special chase cards that contain pieces of actual, verified, screen-worn costumes. I have openly mocked such an endeavour at the past (I wrote an article about them on my now defunct personal blog) but as my Black Widow shrine continued to grow and these started popping up on eBay, it seemed like the perfect time to take the plunge and find out what this was all about!

But first let’s confront the obvious. These cards are all guaranteed to be authentic screen-worn items but, if we read between the lines, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee that they were worn by Scarlett herself. Costumes are always made in multiples and there are always going to be stunt doubles or stand-ins for lighting etc. But let’s just assume that she did wear these pieces. And that is was wonderful. (There’s also no indication as to what part of the costume it comes from. I was hoping for a tell-tale nipple divot or something but the cloth is featureless).

So this is a Black Widow Memorabilia card which I believe to be from the Avengers Assemble set. They have made parts of all the character’s costumes available, including some of their civilian wear, and some cards even have more than one character represented. In fact some cards have up to four swatches, e.g. Thor and his Warriors Three. I don’t know how common these cards but I would make the assumption that you’re probably not going to find more than one a case. On the rare occasion it does show up on ebay it’s clear that the solo Black Widow card is by far the most coveted. Which speaks volumes about our culture.

I’m surprised by how robust the outer casing is. This isn’t a regular cardboard card, instead it’s quite thick and heavily coated giving it a more plasticky feel. The cloth is glued very securely in place. Although it arrived hermetically sealed in a clear plastic shell as though it was a piece of the shroud of Turin. I wonder which will ultimately be worth more.

But there’s more! My collection contains both The Avengers AND Iron Man 2 versions of the costume so I have this piece as well. The assumption is that if I get enough pieces I can build a Scarlett Johansson.

And if you’re purely curious from a Project Runway kind of angle, there’s a very distinct difference in the fabrics used for the two costumes. The Iron Man 2 is more net-like and looks navy under the light. The Avengers costumes is black/grey and a little shinier. 

These are now known as “memorabilia” cards, but it’s a technique that used to be employed by a company called Pieceworks. If you search for “Pieceworks” on ebay you will literally get hundreds of results some of which are hilarious. Ever wanted a piece of Hurley from Lost’s shirt? Alyssa Milano’s pants? Kelly Osborne’s jeans? Captain Mal’s coat from Firefly. They have you covered. Everyone’s initial reaction is to mock my Scarlett Johansson costume piece, but I’ve also discovered that everyone has their weakness. When I counter, “Oh yeah? You know you can also buy a piece of X character’s costume from X movie/tv series you love” people usually respond with an eager, “Where and how much?”

And damn it, this isn't like buying a piece of someone's T-shirt! This is a goddamn piece of superhero costume from one of the biggest movies all time! That's history!

I’ll never go to the moon. And I am totally cool with that. Still, this is kind of comforting.


  1. So true, I was all 'ehhh, not for me' and then you dropped the Mal bomb and I was all 'EBAY HERE I COME'.


  3. There's your moon rock! See? This is how it starts!

  4. The company that started the memorabilia was Inkworks - http://www.inkworks.com/
    hence the name "Pieceworks" because it was a Piece of memorabilia in an Inkworks card. Sadly Uncle Allan has moved on to other endeavors.